The modern dictionary defines success as: to gain wealth or fame. Early American leaders held a puritanical belief that success was a sign of God's favor. Ben Franklin wrote that "the pursuit of wealth was virtuous and would lead to success."

Andrew Carnegie believed in the pursuit of success and the making of money much like Franklin, but added the dimension of making more money for the public good- "It becomes the duty of the millionaire to increase his revenues, the more he makes, the more the public gets."

Charles Schwab, CEO of Bethlehem Steel in the early 1900's, said that "a man early in life must make up his mind to do one of two things: Either to have a good time in life; or to be successful in life. He can choose one, but not both."

George Patton defined success as "how high you bounce when you hit bottom."

Churchill said "success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm."

Coach John Wooden believes that "Success is peace of mind, a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best."

Denis Waitley suggests that "success is a process, not a point."

The definition of success has clearly evolved over the years. The questions is- What does success mean to you? I have known many very successful people (as defined by money and position) over the years who became very unhappy when they reached a point in life that they earlier had defined as being successful.

Is it that they changed their definition of success, or is it that they never really took the time to define what real success meant to them? I believe that each of us needs to devote time to figuring out what success means to us and then establish measures of this success. Over the years I have struggled at times to define what success meant to me. As I have drifted I usually come back to a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson-

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."

This is the meaning of success.

Author's Bio: 

As Founder and CEO of The Rescue Institute, The Global Leader in Executive Coaching™, Drayton is an internationally respected Executive Coach, Teacher, Speaker, Author, and Mentor. He has demonstrated his innate leadership skills time and again having risen to the highest levels in corporate America, as well as in civic organizations.

Drayton has proven himself as a company President, as an entrepreneur running a high profile startup, and as a Vice President of a Fortune 100 firm, all before the age of 40. He has forged multi-million dollar joint ventures with leading Wall Street investment firms and successfully led two large national sales forces with sales in excess of $100MM.

He is a coach and confidant to chief executives throughout the world. Drayton’s enormous success stems from the fact that he has “been there, done that” and understands the challenges facing today’s leaders. His undisputed gift is turning theory into successful action.

His new book- Coming UnScrooged! A Contemporary Classic of Corporate Rescue and Redemption is already garnering high praise from many quarters.

The Rescue Institute’s mission is to help 10 million people save themselves from the lives they’ve created ®- through Coaching!
Most importantly, Drayton has learned how to live a balanced and fulfilling life... something most executives would give anything to enjoy. He lives with his wife of 22 years and their two great kids at 8,000 up in the Rockies. He can be reached at